The Importance of Self-Care
Self-care is a critical part of our lives, and developing and maintaining a consistent self-care regimen is one of the most important components of psychological well-being. However, we oftentimes have difficulty with the process of developing a a consistent self-care routine and incorporating it into our day-to-day lives.
Everyday Responsibilities and the Pandemic
In normal times, we have multiple responsibilities, such as career obligations, school obligations, family obligations, relationship obligations that vie for our energy. But what is the impact of meeting these expectations while managing the chronic uncertainty of a global pandemic. What is the impact of this combination? That book you were so excited to read lies untouched on your nightstand. Your new body lotion remains unopened in the Target bag. Your stomach is upset due to poor meal choices because you just “don’t have time” to prepare or purchase a balanced meal. You haven’t reached out to your support system because “everyone is busy” and you don’t want to be a burden, or (even worse) make plans you will end up cancelling because you are mentally drained.
With this in mind, I invite you to think of it this way: we wouldn’t go without food for three months because we have work deadlines; we wouldn’t go without sleep for a month because we are helping a friend experiencing a difficult time; so, why do we so thoughtlessly go without self-care?
Self-care is vital. It is invigorating. It is rejuvenating. It does not have to be expensive or complicated, and it does not have to be perfect the first time. Self-care is a journey like all other areas of our lives, and you might not fully enjoy your first attempts at regularly implementing self-care practices into your life. Here are some expamples of self-care.
Dancing to a favorite song
Taking a walk
Watching a favorite movie/TV show
Coloring in an adult coloring book
If you are having trouble, remember to keep it simple. Think of the five senses. What is visually appealing to you (colors, artwork, nature, architecture, the birds frequenting the feeder in your backyard, etc.)? What sounds do you enjoy? What are some of your favorite foods? What are your favorite scents? What hands-on activities can you engage in to satisfy your sense of touch (cooking, gardening, playing with your pet for five minutes before grabbing your phone in the morning, etc.)?
I invite you to begin with 10 minutes per day. Remind yourself that self-care is a vital area of your life and not an occasional treat.
If you are unable to motivate yourself, or find the usual things you do to take care of yourself are not helping, meeting with a mental health professional may be your next step. A therapist can help you develop a self care routine, provide support, and increase your coping skills.
Sierra Shapiro, MS, LPC is a psychotherapist at Marsh Psychology Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-860-2024